The Alabama Peanut Industry Moves On

By: Kevin Worthington Email
By: Kevin Worthington Email

A lot of consumers moved on from the salmonella scare, but the effects of the recall and the fast drop in demand is what the industry now faces.

Cookies, candy, crackers and even dog food were affected by what some are calling one of the largest recalls in u-s history.

More than six months have passed since the recall began and those in the industry are seeing signs that consumers have put the incident behind them.

"March 2009 was actually up one percent over March of 2008 and that's a good indication that consumer confidence is returning and hopefully, we'll have better days ahead," said Randy Griggs, Alabama Peanut Producers Assn.

But while demand is on the increase, peanut producers are faced with another problem- their own success with last year's crop.

"We had the best year in the history of production in Alabama. The oversupply really depressed prices considerably in that contracts were below what we would have liked to seen them at," said Griggs.

Shelling companies began processing the 2008 crop right after it was harvested, but the current situation leaves many of their warehouses still packed with peanuts.

"Whereas we would normally shell out a crop year in May or June we'll likely be shelling that crop through the end of the calendar year," said Barrett Brooks of Brooks Peanut Company.

In spite of these hard times, farmers and other industry experts say the situation will work itself out it will just take some time.

Because of the lower prices, farmers planted 25,000 fewer acres of peanuts this year than in 2008.

But they expect high yields from those acres.

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